the homepage of gregory and ann kline

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pepto to Perfecto

This Thanksgiving week I have countless things to be thankful for. One thing is my awesome friends. I have a whole group of girls that are very special to me, but this post is about just two of them. Way back in May I posted about how Will was now sleeping in his crib converted into a toddler bed. (Since then he has had to go back to sleeping back in the confined crib since he was not behaving himself.) I posted here a picture of him all happy in his room... his very very pink room. We had named the color of his room "Radioactive Pepto Bismol". The room was that color when we moved in and we just never had figured out how to manage painting it with two little kids running around. That post sparked an email from The Boss's mom and my friend and fellow AK. These two awesome friends of mine offered up their time and step ladders and came to help fix that awful paint job.

I didn't take too many before pictures because it was just so hideous. I took this shot a couple days after we moved in. I know it is hard to look beyond those pink walls, but take notice to that dark purple trim everywhere. The entire window frame was also that lovely color as well.

We were all pretty busy over the summer so we put off the project for a bit. In August I ripped down the boarder (which was an easy job thankfully). Will just isn't a flowers and butterfly kind of guy.

The colors were so (hideously) vibrant, that my expert painting friends felt that we should break the project up into two days. Day 1 was in October where the entire room (except the door stopper and doors) was covered with primer.

The room was so pink that the kids never noticed that the doors were yellow until we put the primer up. After the coat of primer, the pink still showed through. The trim probably could have used a second coat of primer to cover up that dark purple. Will's room was somewhat reassembled as we waited for a time the painting could resume. A month passed. Even though there was just primer on the walls, that room was still so much more pleasant than it had been in it's complete pink horror.

At last, it was time to add some pleasing color to those walls. My friends were back and the paint can was cracked. It took two coats on the trim and one coat on the walls, but at last, the room is glorious! We leave the door open now. The kids enjoy being in there. Will is starting to consider that room to actually be his, and not just a room he sleeps in. We still don't have anything on the walls (apart from paint), but we are getting there.

The original plan was to paint the doors white to match the trim. Greg suggested that we just leave them yellow to add more color to the room. I was fine with being done with painting so yellow they are.

I would like to point out how nice this light switch plate looks with the color that we chose. The previous owners could have just used that same boarder and light switch plate and painted the room a much more pleasing color. But noooooo.... no one bothered to check with me when decorating their home. (Will has a new, plain white light switch plate now.)

I am in the process of making curtains - another slow to the finish project. I somehow managed to be about a half of yard short on the fabric so I had to make a second trip out to get some more. In the end, I decided that I liked the fabric so much that I bought the rest of the bolt. I'm not sure what I am going to do with it yet. Quilt? Blanket? Something that isn't going to end up in the room at all? Suggestions anyone? Maybe in a few years there will be a post about what that fabric became. For now, a sneak peak at the curtains.

Thank you so much to my friends who gave us such a wonderful new space in our house. I owe you one!


Monday, November 23, 2009


My brother is flying into town over the Christmas season this year instead of driving. He has requested no gifts because he will have limited baggage space. I just can't watch Christmas come and go and not give my brother something. So this year he is getting warm feet, guaranteed to fit in his suitcase.

These knitted up really fast. I don't have much time to knit and still managed to complete these in less than a week. I just picked the yarn up at our local Michael's, so nothing fancy. (It is Bernat Satin, if you must know.) I used this pattern and it was really quite simple. And the slippers are nice and warm and comfy.

I'm going to use some "puffy paint" to add some grip to the bottoms and then they will be ready to be gifted... come Christmas. I am thinking about knitting up another pair of these since they were so fast and great for mindless knitting.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Two Years Ago

Two years is all the time I have spent with Will. I can't really remember the days when we were a family of three. Maybe it is because the entire time we were a family of three, we knew that Will should have been home with us making it a family of four. The first time I saw Will's picture, I just felt this overwhelming feeling that he was one of us. He wasn't just some cute baby in a picture, or even a picture of a boy that would become my son. He was already one of us. During the adoption process, someone told me that it is really amazing how you somehow end up with the child that is meant to be yours. Regardless of where he was born or his genetic makeup, it is clear that Will was meant to be part of this family.

We got the name William from my side of the family, the Wylie's. It is my brother's name, my dad's name, my grandfather's name, and just about as many greats as you can add to grandfather's name on that side of the family. We couldn't have picked a better name. Just like all the other Williams in my family I know, he is stubborn, wants things his way, and marches to the beat of a different drum. (This of course is completely frustrating to me because I am the same way.) Just like my brother Willie, Will is quite the talker, friends with everyone, and his goofy laugh and smile sucks everyone in.

Two years later and he still has this exact same expression.

Will was 11 months old when we adopted him exactly two years ago today. He was still a baby in some senses, but he was also cruising around the furniture, able to crawl away from us, and able to mostly feed himself. Those are just a few of the factors that made it hard for me to bond with him. Add in the fact that we also had a 19 month old to take care of, and things have just never gone as smoothly with bonding as I had hoped. It might have taken two years, but Will and I have finally turned a corner. He will probably always be a daddy's boy, but that doesn't mean that Will and I don't have our own special bond - a bond that has certainly deepened these past couple months that we have gotten to spend some time alone together. I can always count on him to give me the biggest, tightest hug anytime I ask for one, and making my heart melt several times a day by spontaneously telling me that he loves me.

Having been there and done that before, I knew that there would be no fanfare at the US Embassy in Guatemala when our adoption was finalized. I don't even remember too much about it. I remember that we had to wait in line for a really long time before we got in the building and we ended up being the last family to be called that day, which meant lots and lots of waiting inside. I remember Will needed several diaper changes while we waited.

Mmm... Turkey

The most memorable part of Will becoming part of our family was when we were home at last, and our family of four was together. Our first day together was Thanksgiving 2007. My awesome friends surprised us by delivering an entire Thanksgiving dinner that day. No matter the day, no matter the holiday, no matter the frustration that Will inevitably gives me, I give thanks every day that I have the honor of being his mom.

Me and my Boys


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Christmas Commercialism

It isn't Thanksgiving yet. Every year I seem to gripe about the fact that as soon as kids go back to school, the Christmas "stuff" comes out. That poor holiday of Thanksgiving suffers because everyone already has Christmas on the brain. As I sit here in my house, I can look out my front window and see my nutty neighbors who not only have their Christmas lights up, but on. So despite that it is only mid-November, Christmas is everywhere. Now it is going to be on my blog too.

Besides, I am quite a sucker for the holiday.

I remember as a kid, maybe 6-10 years old, my brother and I would fight over the J.C. Penny's Christmas catalog as soon as it arrived. (Remember when J.C. Penny's had toys?) I would make an extensive list of every possible thing in that catalog that I might have some desire to play with, and hand it over with a hopeful grin to my mom so she could do her Christmas shopping. I most certainly did not get all those things on my list but my parents always tried their hardest to get me that one thing that I wanted most of all, and that always made Christmas special and magical to me. And now as a parent, I understand that seeing the amazement in my eyes was one large part that made Christmas special and magical to my parents.

A couple weeks ago we were driving through town and one of the kids noticed that in an abandoned storefront there was a big picture of Santa leftover from a previous year. I started asking what they wanted Santa to bring. I was hoping to get a little bit of an idea so I could surprise them with that one thing that they really truly wanted. Marcus said, "What do I want? ...I know! Shoes." Will said, "I want shoes too." I've been trying to remind the kids about Christmas, about the presents and being with family, and mostly about the presents. Yet for the past month, every time I ask what they want Santa to bring, they say shoes.

In talking with other parents of kids the same age as my kids, I have found that their kids have a good idea of what toy they want for Christmas, usually what toys they want. I have heard stories about kids cutting out pictures in catalogs and making a collage for their wish list of toys that they aren't even sure they know what they do. I gave my kids a toy catalog. Will wasn't the least bit interested. Marcus just went through and tried to find as many pictures of trains as he could. Maybe my kids still don't "get" Christmas. Or maybe... maybe I am doing something right. Maybe I am somehow teaching my kids in some way that Christmas is really about a whole lot more than getting toys.

Likely it is something far more basic (and far more logical than me being an awesome parent). My kids don't watch commercials. They most certainly watch their fair share of TV, just not commercials. They mostly watch PBS, which doesn't have commercials during the shows. We record everything on our DVR and as soon as it is over, we either turn the TV off or put on a different show. They have avoided being bombarded by those flashy commercials.

My kids just don't normally ask for things. Probably because they learned quickly that the answer is almost always no. When we go to the store, it is usually just for groceries. They have never picked up a toy in the toy aisle and said they want to take it home, because that is just something we never do. I better write this all down and cherish it because I have a feeling that this will be one of the last years that my kids won't be completely sucked in by the commercialism that is Christmas.

In my own commercial view of Christmas, I want to make this Christmas special and magical for my kids by buying them something. Thankfully they are young enough to fall for the power of suggestion. For the past few days Marcus has decided that he wants a camera for Christmas. No idea how he might have got it into his head that having his own kid friendly digital camera would be a good idea... Up until today, Will was still sticking with his desire to have shoes. Today he said, "I want a camera too." How wonderful! You know, since Santa and I chat all the time and I just happen to know that my kids are going to get that one present that they really truly want this year.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What Would You Say?

I was listening to a live recording of a Dave Matthews Band concert in the car the other day and Marcus kept singing the chorus to "What Would you Say". And that is just a fitting title to this post.

I was at lunch with the kids today and at one point I noticed a blond haired, fair skinned woman sitting at a nearby table with a little boy completely Guatemalan. What did I say? Nothing. I have no clue what to say in that situation. I usually wait for the other person to talk to me. I just have no clue what to say. Most of the time I just fear that there is that chance I could be wrong and I could totally insult someone. So all those other adoptive parents that I know read my blog and rarely post comments, what do you say? Post your comment. Please.

I have had lots of people say things to me. Of course, my kids have been adopted so it isn't like someone coming up to me and asking me if I adopted them would offend me. (Although, some people have done it with way more tact than others.) I have had several people come up to me and start off with, "Can I ask you a question?" And of course I know where that is going. I had one Caucasian woman with two African American children with her say to me that my son (only had one of them with me at the time) was beautiful. I knew what she was trying to lead into but then I froze with what to say next so that went nowhere. Then of course there was that time when a guy got my attention at the store and asked, "Hey, can I talk to you for a second?" I just knew what was coming, but then it turned out that he just wanted to give me some advice about a product he noticed I was purchasing. Oops. So really, what do you say?


Saturday, November 07, 2009

Family Day

Family Day. Gotcha Day. Whatever you call it, it is just a made up holiday/tradition that a lot of adoptive families do. It can be celebrated whenever but these past two years we have decided to celebrate our Family Day the first Saturday of November. Both our kids became a part of our family around this time of year and November is National Adoption Month, so it works. We celebrate our kids' birthdays of course, but for adoptive families, birthdays are often times kind of... odd. On the day that my sons were born I don't have any stories or memories. I didn't even know my kids were in this world until weeks after they were born. Unlike biological families, our family didn't become a family at the birth of our children. So we get another day to celebrate, have fun, get presents, and eat bad food. That was today.

First up was a photo op.

Marcus' first day at our house, November 2006

Marcus, November 2007

Marcus, November 2008

Marcus, today

Will's first day at our house, November 2007

Will, November 2008

Will, today

Our local Guatemalan group (GPAFG) had an outing planned for today so we decided to do that for our Family Day. WQED Studios had the set from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood set up and we planned on meeting up with a few other families to attend the free event. As I suspected, because it was free and for just this weekend, everyone in the entire city showed up. We saw a couple families from the group but for the most part, all the separate families just jumped in line when they arrived and we ended up not being there together. The line was long. We were outside while we waited. It was cold. The dinosaur statue kept us entertained for about 2 minutes.

Apparently there was a whole lot of stuff going on inside. Not only could you check out Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, but Mr. McFeely was there posing for pictures and signing autographs. We waited. We waited some more. After that there was more waiting. At one point we could barely believe but there we were, in front of King Friday's castle.

By the time we reached the end of the set, two hours had passed. Will was getting whiny. The poor kids didn't have a clue what the hype was, particularly since they have only seen a few episodes of Mr. Rogers. I was bored. Greg was being a great husband and keeping his thoughts to himself. The kids probably could have made it as long Greg and I could keep coming up with creative ways to entertain them. However, I was done. Having fun wasn't supposed to be so much work. There was still at least another 30 minute wait before we got to hang with Mr. McFeely for a minute. I did think it would be pretty cool to get a picture with Mr. McFeely, but I also thought it would be pretty cool to get out of there. We got out of line, used the potty, and I snapped a photo of Mr. McFeely so someday I can show it to my kids and tell them all about how we were that close but I robbed them of the opportunity to meet him.

It was lunch time. We thought we would do something fun for the kids. We drove back towards our town and stopped at Burger King. We aren't fast food people. I think that is only the second time Marcus has had fast food and a first for Will. They both thoroughly enjoyed their meal of little nutritional value. We learned that Will likes pickles.

The Burger King has an indoor playground. Even though the day was shaping up to be gorgeous and we could have been outside, we figured it would be a fun place for the kids to play. Wrong. The playground said it was handicapped accessible which was just assuming because the able bodied children playing on it were having difficulties. Particularly my children. The only way to climb up was through these tubes that Will wasn't tall enough to get up unassisted. Marcus was scared of it. So scared that he had a total freak out and I had to rescue him and our fun morning ended like this:

We went home. Defeated. Our Family Day was turning out to be a Crappy Day. Two hours in the car. Two hours in line. A totally freaked out kid.

At least Will enjoyed his pickle.

During nap time I took the pup for a walk in our woods and did some yard work to hopefully reduce the damage done by the fast food. After nap we were ready to try to make Family Day a bit more fun.

During the time Greg and I spent in Guatemala, we purchased several small gifts to give to the kids throughout the year. It was present time! No one can get presents without a smile on their face!

At first Will thought he got popcorn.

Nope. A wooden train.

The trains were definitely a big hit. They were the only toy the kids played with for the rest of the evening. That was, the rest of the evening that we were home. We still had one more place to go.

Sarris'!! Sarris Candies makes the best chocolate, at least in my opinion. They also have a great ice cream parlor. We were headed for the ice cream. When I put the kids to bed tonight I asked them what their favorite part of the day was. They both said, "Ice cream!"

Out of the four of us, only one of us was able to finish all their ice cream. Guess who?

I was thinking that I had to take the pup for a walk around the neighborhood when I got home to make up for that ice cream. It didn't happen. Happy Family Day! Tomorrow is Diet Start Day!


Thursday, November 05, 2009


How can you not love fall? The hot cider, the pumpkins, the cool weather, and the leaves! The forecast today was talking about snow flurries. I didn't see any but I was definitely happy to go back and look at my photos from a couple weeks ago when the weather was a bit warmer and the leaves were a bit brighter.

About two weeks ago I headed into the woods with the pup and stopped dead in my tracks. All the colors of the leaves were just amazing. I went back home to grab the camera in hopes to capture just a glimpse of the beautiful colors I was seeing.

I couldn't wait to take the kids out for a hike in the woods. The next day we hit the trails.

Marcus isn't really this much taller than Will. He was on a hill.

I love this tree. It is dead and rotting but for some reason, I find dead trees beautiful.

Maya still picks up trash on all our nature walks.

Last weekend we headed out in the yard again. Will was having a blast on our tree swing. Now that is just pure joy!

Greg raked up a big pile of leaves. The kids needed no instruction and knew just what to do. I remember having a good time playing in leaves as a kid, but I don't think I ever had as good of a time as I did playing with my leaves as I did last weekend.